tv CNN Newsroom CNN March 17, 2011 11:00am-1:00pm EDT
medicine. >> reporter: he is rationing the little bit of medicine they have, but it's running out. >> translator: we can't last another three days. they are distributing drugs, but you know, so far, i haven't gotten any yet. >> reporter: lisa sylvester, cnn. fredericka whit field is in for suzanne malveaux. >> thanks. all right, it is march 17, and of course japan has been bombarded or -- has bombarded a crippled nuclear plant with water, a desperate attempt to cool nuclear fuel rods. helicopters donned 30 tons of sea water, but wind scattered much of it. radiation levels actually rose. a few hours later, fire trucks hosed down the plant with little success. officials will keep trying. crews hope to restore electricity to the nuclear complex. maybe within a matter of hours. that could power generators for
the cooling system to keep nuclear fuel rods covered in water, but even if electricity is restored, the plant's water pumps may have been damaged by the sea water that was dumped. and a new earthquake hit japan a few hours ago. seismologists say it had a preliminary magnitude of 5.8. dr. sanjay gupta was reporting live on cnn when the quake struck. >> reporter: we're feeling an aftershock right now. i'll tell -- i don't know if you saw that, but things moving around a bit on us even as i'm talking to you. these aftershocks have come quite frequently. it's still continuing here. yes, okay. i think we're all good. >> japan's mega disaster has forced hundreds of thousands of people to move into evacuation centers. the governor of fukushima prefecture says that shelters are overcrowded and don't have hot meals or basic toiletries. he is furious there is no
long-term plan to house evacuees. and the united states will evacuate the families of american diplomatic personnel in japan. that's about 600 people. the state department says private american citizens who want to leave can hitch a ride on one of the charter flights. and looking live right now at dallas-ft. worth national airport, customs officials are checking passengers from japan for radiation. passengers passed radiation detectors on the way to customs and probably did not realize it. they were checked. customs workers say they have found nothing. and a british reporter is the first outsider to reach kamayishi in the far north of japan. on the right you see the enormous saw wall that protected the town from past tsunamis. well, not this time. most residents stayed in their homes thinking they were safe. >> an entire town stripped away to the elaborate foundations of
houses designed to withstand earthquakes, yes. but a tsunami of this scale, certainly not. and japanese soldiers say they have pulled just ten survivors from the wreckage in one area. one woman is trying to track down relatives to tell them that their loved ones are alive. >> this woman is one of japan's countless good samaritans. >> i have to help people. it's my hometown. >> reporter: she's collected the names of the missing posted on the internet. she's come here hoping to find people she doesn't know on behalf of people she's never met. >> it is just horrible. i want to think it is nightmare, what happened in my hometown. but i can't say anything. and more now on japan's nuclear crisis and concern about the risks from radiation. the u.s. embassy is urging people within 50 miles of the
nuclear plant to evacuate. that's 1.9 million people. japanese officials have told those living within 12 to 19 miles to stay indoors. earlier, the government evacuated about 200,000 people living within a 12-mile radius. and of course the biggest risk is to workers inside the plant trying to avoid a meltdown. more from dr. begsanjay gupta. an important piece of the puzzle, what are radiation levels inside the plant? we know the levels are higher inside where workers are trying to do their work. they try and protect themselves with this, a hazmat suit. they may use a mask that has a little respirator on it. these sort of things provide some help against some forms of radiation but not against the most dangerous forms of radiation like gamma radiation.
there's also little sensors that they may use to find out how much radiation they're being exposed to or what the contamination is. these aren't protecting people as much as giving them in the plant a little bit more information. they know the deal here. they know the -- the potential effects of this radiation. and in the short term, the raidsation effects can be -- radiation effects can be a cause of bleeding, skin rashes, and longer term whether they might develop cancers. people living outside the evacuation area, the concern there is that if they're getting levels of radiation that are too high, they could develop some of these same symptoms over time. there's no suggestion that radiation have become that high. according to the official numbers that we've received. there is conflicting information about what is a safe evacuation area. for some time we've been hearing from the japanese government. a 20-kilometer sort of evacuation zone. now we're hearing an 80 mile or
50 kilometer evacuation zone from the united states government. they're looking at the same data, they're coming up with different recommendations. the united states being more conservative. there's also been a lot of discussion about potassium iodine as of recent. people buying them up in the united states. really the stuff is flying off the shelves. a couple of things to keep in mind. first of all, people taking potassium iodied may develop problems because of the salt, allergies, people with pre-existing thyroid problems may have a problem taking that medication. there's no suggestion, no recommendation, no reason really for people in the united states to be taking this. the radiation levels, even if they cross over the ocean, by the time they get to the united states should be so low that there really should be no discernible human threat. again, you know, people obviouslyancxious about what's happening but the panic button does not need to be hit
especially for those living on the west coast of the united states. back to you. at that hour, president obama is observing an annual white house tradition. celebrating st. patrick's day, the president is meeting with ireland's prime minister now. it's one of several strens white house marking the holiday. but the president's observance of a different annual tradition is now drawing sharp criticism. carol costello here with a chance to talk back. >> a silly season for more reasons than one. president obama has his hands full with japan, libya, the middle east, and a threatened government shutdown. what's wrong with taking a little break? a lot apparently. mr. obama appeared on espn to give his picks for the ncaa basketball championship. >> look, here's what happened -- i picked north carolina, they lost. the next year they won for me. i think kansas is going to do the same. they always feel bad about losing when the president picks them. they're going to go all the way.
>> well, they may be chiefing in topeka -- cheering in topeka, but in the conservative blogosphere, some are crying foul, "anxious world looks to the white house and wonders who's obama picking for the final four?" on tv, fox blasted mr. obama for the ncaa bracket and also for playing golf, saying, "i find his lack of engagement now beyond troubling to me." democratic and republican lawmakers are not exactly chained to their desks. they're raising money to get re-elected. according to "the washington times," 150 fundraising parties just this week. and yes, some lawmakers have booked luxury boxes for fundraising at the ncaa tournament. so talk back. are critics fair about president obama making ncaa picks during world crises? write to me at facebook.com/carolcnn, facebook.com/carolcnn. i will gladly read your responses later this hour. >> something tells me you'll get an earful or eyeful to the
written responses. >> yes. >> we look forward to that. thank you. all right. this story happening right now. some incredible pictures taking place out of minneapolis after a gas line rupture. take a look. highway 62 is closed because of that. a massive fire. no reports of injuries thus far. and here's a look at what's ahead on the rundown. a live update from japan on efforts to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. also a breakdown of u.s. dependence on nuclear energy and the safety questions that raises. plus, a member of the u.s. search and rescue team on duty in japan's earthquake zone. and why experts say you should not be alarmed about radiation reaching the u.s. and finally, rebels in elizabeth afraid international help will come too late. >> this is big for all the world. we are defending the world peace. ♪
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and from the air. it's a desperate race to prevent a nuclear crisis from turning into a catastrophe. we get the latest now from cnn's stan grant in tokyo. and some perspective from cnn contributor jim walsh in boston. let's begin with you, stan, in tokyo. you're following the developments out of the fukushima plant. so give us an update on the efforts to cool down those damaged reactors. >> reporter: we've been following this day in and day out, hour after hour. if i can just put it this way -- running to stand still i think would be the best description. they are throwing everything at it. they've tried sea water. they've now tried to bomb water from the sky. they're using fire trucks, they're using trucks from the army, as well, to pour water in there, 70 tons of water were poured into the reactors today. they're going to have to be back again tomorrow. they can't even be sure that it's making a difference. you know, until they can actually call those reactors and get in and look at the damage and stabilize them and shut them down properly they can't bridng
an end to the danger. they've seen the fires, explosions, they've admitted there have been at least partial meltdowns. we've seen the radiation levels continue to spike and drop. even workers from the plant have been evicted at times. members from the police trying to pour water to the reactors tried to get closer to the plant and had to abort that because the radiation levels rose once again. the problem seems to be most around reactor number four. there is a pool of water containing spent fuel rods. now a lot of debate coming from the united states and japan. the u.s. is concerned that those fuel rods may be exposed and spewing more radiation into the atmosphere. japan says, no, they believe the radiation levels are much lower. and they are arguing that there is water in the pool. they can't guarantee just how much. and that's a real area of concern right now. >> and so stan, also on the issue of generators, if generators help restore power, how would that help or hurt?
>> reporter: that could be a game changer. the problem began with a power failure, it shut down the cooling system. they had auxiliary power and that didn't work either. it was a failure and then another failure. and then they've ended up with this problem that has been compounded by all those other issues that we just discussed a moment ago. so yeah, being able to get power there, being able to get the coolant system working again and trying to stabilize these reactors would be a huge step forward. and you know, they are throwing everything at it. but as i say, every time they think they may be get somethingwhere, they've run into -- somewhere, they've run into another problem. the nuclear safety agency had this assessment this afternoon, they said reactor number one they are calling reasonably stable right now, as well as reactors five and six. but there's still problems with the others. it's been a real battle to get them under control. >> stan grant in tokyo. thank you very much. let's bring in cnn contributor jim walsh now. he's an international securities analyst at mit. you were listening to stan's report. how alarming or encouraging is
anything you heard, particularly as it pertains to the pool of water around the spent fuel rods? >> reporter: let's start with the good news first pause we haven't had a ton of good news this week. it's good news if reactor one and reactor five and six are stabilized. one of the challenges is with so many things in play, over such a long period of time, i think it's tough for the workers on the ground to be able to manage multiple problems in multiple places. so i would say that's good news. i would also say it's good news that they're getting power generation there. but there are a lot of challenges to translate that into actually affecting, having cooling that will reduce the problem. there's good news, but there are still big challenges, particularly at reactors three and four. >> okay. and at that four, that's where the pool of water is around those spent fuel rods. what would that mean? >> reporter: well, you know, we saw a little of it over the last 24 hours, if that radiation spikes, then they have to withdraw the workers, and they can't bring in the helicopters which is, you know, not a good situation to begin with, using helicopters. but the helicopters can't get close enough to try to drop
water. then you get in the cycle where there's high radiation because workers can't get close enough to treat the problem. and, you know, that -- that points things in the wrong direction. so it's good news if the utility is saying that the radiation is dropping, but we've had so many inconsistent reports it's hard to know. >> all right. jim, thank you very much, we'll see you again later on this hour to talk about what happens next in japan's nuclear crisis, as well as the long-term effects. that's coming up at 11:45 eastern time. thanks. how safe is nuclear power? that's a serious question in light of what's happening in japan. we'll check in live with alison kosik in new york for a closer look at nuclear power in the u.s. what do you see yourself doing after you do retire? client comes in and they have a box. and inside that box is their financial life. people wake up and realize. "i better start doing something." we open up that box. we organize it. and we make decisions. we really are here to help you. they look back and think "wow. i never thought i could do this."
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tonchlth get an update on money, check cnn.money.com. the stocks are rallying after a two-day sell-off. the dow is up 144 points. we'll keep watching for you. meantime, time is running out for another temporary deal to keep the federal government from shutting down. the u.s. senate must approve a plan by midnight. conservatives are pushing for big spending cuts. if a plan is not approved, nonessential services like national parks could close. the house gave its okay tuesday to a three-week budget extension. the united states is incredibly reliant on nuclear power. 20% of u.s. electricity is nuclear generated, but it's not
the same in every state. alison kosik joins us from the new york stock exchange. so most of these nuclear plants are pretty old and safety is still a concern. so where are we now? >> reporter: well, if you want to know where the nuclear plants are, they're in 31 state. most of the reactors in the u.s. are at least 30 years old. you can see if you live near a nuclear plant, yellow relies on nuclear plant. 70% of electricity in vermont come from it. connecticut also top the list. as you move west, reliance becomes less, iowa and washington, less than 10% of power is nuclear. in most western states, almost no nuclear power is used at all. >> and of course, most states rely on nuclear manager. now there are concerns about safety. what happens if we take nuclear
energy out of the equation, can we survive without it? >> reporter: it would be really difficult. takes a lot of time and money if you do that. it's not just about taking nuclear energy out of the equati equation. it's also about replacing te ii infrastructure that supports it. it takes time and money. and another issue, what do you replace it with? every energy source has its own drawbacks. you think about coal. coal-based electricity is tough on the environment. natural gas is expensive to make. solar and wind are volatile. they're literally dependents on the weather. pick your poison with that. one thing analysts agree on with this is that a mix of replacement sources would be best if you were looking to actually take nuclear energy out of the equation. >> and so what would it take to replace a nuclear power with some other source? >> reporter: well, nuclear power, of course, is a big energy source. and we're a big country. you know, one nuclear physicist
says it would be -- itted take a really big, coordinated effort if you were going to look to take nuclear energy out of the equation. listen to what he had to say. >> how could we give up our plants unless there's some huge push both by private industry and government to think about really installing new electric grids, new renewable energy sources. so far we simply haven't moved even away from our current sources. >> reporter: and you know, most utility companies are private. the burden would be placed on the private sector. you know, it would be more likely to happen if government was behind it and everyone worked together, especially if government put financial incentives behind it, as well. so far, though, there isn't any coordinated effort to get rid of nuclear energy. but if you're going do, t, -- you're going to do, it see the effects without nuclear power,
do it in the spring or fall. electricity demand is low. that's of course if you just want to test it out. >> okay, thank you very much, alison kosik, appreciate that. seven days into the crisis, the grim task now of recovery is certainly not getting any easier. >> be forgiven for thinking this is a war zone. instead, it's a place where voejs battling -- soldiers are battling to finds victims of nature's forces. and he's... not so much. well, for a driver like you, i would recommend our new snapshot discount. this little baby keeps track of your great driving habits, so you can save money. [sighs] amazing. it's like an extra bonus savings. [ cackling ] he's my ride home. how much can the snapshot discount save you? call or click today. 14 clubs. that's what they tell us a legal golf bag can hold. and while that leaves a little room for balls and tees,
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ahead on "the rundown," the grim search for survivors in the rubble of a japanese village. what's next for japan as it deals with its nuclear crisis? we'll look at the short term and long-term possibilities. concerns in the u.s. after reports that radiation from japan is heading this way. and -- [ gunfire ] >> muammar gadhafi's forces fight to retake libya's second biggest city. rebels are desperate for international help. reporters are starting to reach some of the towns hit hardest by japan's earthquake and tsunami. itn's angus walker is in the devastated fishing port of miyako. >> reporter: miyako, a fishing port where the harbor offered no sanctuary. a ferry is now marooned in the middle of town. you'd be forgiven for thinking this is a war zone. instead, it's a place where
soldiers are battling. to find victims of nature's forces. more than 1,000 are missing. it took the japanese army three days to get to miyako. they're still here, still searching for bodies. and the weather conditions are getting worse. this town can only be reached by mountainous roads. >> t the sergeant tells me they've pulled ten people out alive since monday. and if they only find one more, it will all still be worth it. this was the moment the tsunami smashed through miyako's defenses. a boat is slammed into a bridge. the waters have receded, exposing the destruction in their wake. now you get a real sense of the
terrifying scale of this disaster. so much water poured over the sea wall, that it hit the bottom of the bridge. it must be around 30 feet above me. these are the lists of the living. more than 5,000 in emergency shelters. and this woman is one of japan's countless good samaritans. >> i have to help the people because it is my hometown. >> reporter: she's collected the names of the missing posted on the internet. she's come here hoping to find people she doesn't know on behalf of people she's never met. >> it is just horrible. i want to think it is nightmare what happened in my hometown, but i can't say anything. >> reporter: and all along japan's northeastern coast, the nightmare never seems to end. angus walker, itv news, miya ko.
and this information from the white house that president barack obama will have a statement about japan later this afternoon. we'll try to bring that to you. the u.s. has sent ships and helicopters to japan to help distribute relief supplies. search and rescue teams are also there. among them is virginia task force one. joining me is battalion chief chris shoff from in japan. where have you been able to go? >> we've operated since we arrived near the coast, we operated there for the first two days of the assignment as well as the u.k. was with us and los angeles county, as well. we operated there, almost 24 hours straight through, working to look for new live victims but were not able to find any there. then to date we redeployed, actually last night, to kimichi,
an hour and ten-minute drive from where we were located. we operated there until dark and had to return for safety reasons and return again today and operate until dark this evening. >> you said for safety reasons. what were those safety concerns? >> just dangerous in the town where we were. there's no light, no pour there. so it -- no power there. so it's hard to operate as far as being the amount of rubble and the devastate, it's just not safe to be climbing over those piles and into the void spaces without any light whatsoever. if somebody was to get hurt, it would be difficult to get our people out and get them to safety. when it becomes dark, we come back and regroup for the next morning>> morning . >> on the lines of safety, how concerned are you about the radiation, potential contamination of your crew? >> we have hazardous materials specialists with us, with fire rescue, and as well as the task force. they are constantly monitoring
us in the field, as well, at the base camp. we're safe where we're at and while we've operated. while we keep it on the horizon, we feel comfortable operating with the people in the u.s. watching for us, as well. >> and what about k-9 units, do you have them? >> we do. we have six dogs with us. they've been busy. we've had a couple of injuries to the dogs. but we have a medical team, doctors caring for the dogs. they're able to continue working. they've been a great help, searching huge mounds of debris piles. put the dogs in, they can comb the area quicker than we can by hand or search crews themselves. >> if you've been unable to find survivors, how difficult is that for the team pschologically and for the dogs to go on and try to find anyone who may have survived after six days now? >> the dogs think of it as a game so they'll continue looking. they're excited to get out and continue to search. for the rescuers themselves, obviously that's what we're here for.
we really would like to find a live victim, to feel that success. at the same time, when you find somebody who's not made it and can reunite a family member that has passed away, it brings some closure to that family. it's a good feeling that we're able to provide the closure. >> so the snow and cold clearly would make it uncomfortable. i wonder how that impacts any of the equipment you're using in your search and rescue efforts. >> it just causes you to go slower because of the footing and some of the areas that you have to get into, makes it a little more difficult obviously. the cold -- we got into the snow yesterday. we operated through that. it snowed almost down to about ten-foot visibility as we were working yesterday afternoon. so definitely slowed down the search efforts search efforts. we will continue on tomorrow. >> chris schaff with the virginia task force one. thank you very much for joining us. all the best on your continued
efforts. >> thank you. meantime, across the seas a different direction, libyans calling for u.n. military intervention as civil war rages. >> translator this is the u.n.'s responsibility. if the u.n. won't protect civilian populations, what's the point of its existence? >> desperate pleas from those in the path of muammar gadhafi's troops today. thbe pt delicious gourmet gravy. and she agrees. wi fcyest gravy lovers, uratannjoy the delicious, satisfying taste grmet gravy every day. fay as the best ingredient is love. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 if anything, it was a little too much. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 but the moment they had my money? nothing.
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an ominous warning today in libya. state tv reports an all-out assault on the rebel capital of benghazi could happen very soon. [ explosions ] >> muammar gadhafi's forces have been fighting their way toward it. they claim to have taken the final city on the road to benghazi. cnn journalist there have seen no proof of that. there's also growing concern about four "new york times" journalists missing in libya. the newspaper says it has received secondhand information that some of them were detained by government troops. but the military says it has no information on the journalist. the u.n. city council could vote today a resolution authorizing military action in libya. the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. says air strikes against government troops are among the options being considered.
>> we are discussing very seriously and leading efforts in the council around a range of actions that we believe could be effective in protecting civilians. those include discussion of a no-fly zone. but the u.s. view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that go beyond a no-fly zone. >> while the u.n. contemplates its next move, the people of benghazi are living in fear that international action will come too late if at all. cnn has more. >> reporter: to say that people are disappointed with the international community's inexaction an understatement. they're angry, frustrated, and feel completely betrayed and abandoned. the failure of the united states to pass a resolution that would implement a no-fly zone, people are telling us, is nothing short, they say, of having global leaders sign their death
warrants. carrying both flags to show his gratitude to the two nation, osama muhammad says the people must be saved. muhammad is killing the libyan people, he says. the world is taking so long, muhammad is going to finish off all of libya. there will be no point to a no-fly zone. >> this is a big threat for all the world. we are defending the world peace, not for us but for our citizens. >> reporter: it's already been a month of bombardment and bloodshed, he tells us. "this is the u.n.'s responsibility. if the u.n. won't protect civilian populations, what's the point of its existence?" "and yes, i am worried about my children," he continues. "we've already seen children massacred." the french flag has been hanging from the courthouse here in benghazi since friday when france recognized the legitimacy of the national council.
people then happy, anticipating that the united states would shortly follow suit, talking about how they would hang an even bigger flag to thank america for its support. since then they have, of course, been bitterly disappointed. many people telling us if it's an issue of money, they'll pay for it. if it's an issue of america fearing involvement in an arab nation, well, they would be welcomed here. they say that if america and the global community continues to choose inaction, this would be a dark stain, a very dark stain in history. cnn, benghazi, libya. other top stories -- graphic video of the increasingly violent security crackdown in bahrain. an unarmed man walks up to security forces and is shot at paintblank range. "the huffington post" reports police fired rubber bullets at him. amnesty international accuses shotgun of using shotguns,
teargas, and rubber bullets to subdue protesters. muhammad ali wrote a letter to iran's supreme leader appealing as a brother of islam for the release of hikers. and they've been held for alleged espionage since july of 2009, as a reminders. we'll return to the nuclear crisis in japan in a moment. amid the desperate effort to cool nuclear fuel rods, we'll focus on what happens next as well as the long-term effects. our expert, jim walsh, joins me again. first, we want you to listen to the earthquake as it hit. [ rumbling ] ominous, isn't it? that is how last friday's powerful 9.0 quake sounded. we now know it was a preludes to
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helicopters and water cannons to try to cool down a damaged nuclear reactor. it's a desperate attempt to prevent a meltdown. helicopters are trying to drop sea water on the overheated fuel pool at the reactor. choppers jumped 7 -- dumped 7 1/2 tons of sea water with each of the four passes. radiation levels remain high after the initial attempts, but the plant owner says the effort will continue. we want to bring back cnn contributor jim walsh. he's an international security analyst at mit. all right, so a lot of things have been attempted now. you've got the water, then the attempt to get the generators going. what next? >> well, i think the main thing is to focus on keeping water in the reactor and water at the spent fuel ponds where the nuclear waste is stored. you know, the hopeful thing here is -- the best outcome is if they can stabilize the situation. over the next several days, those -- the active reactors, units one, two, and three, will begin to cool down. one hopes.
then maybe you can entomb them in concrete like but at three mile island or otherwise set them aside and then focus on the nuclear waste pools which i think are probably the biggest hazard right now. but in order to do that, they're going to have to fix the electrical problem. it's not just getting electricity, it's getting the pumps and everything in between. i'm sure that's a major challenge for them now. if we can just buy some time and stabilize the situation, i think that's what probably people are shooting for in the near term. >> and then looking forward, these reactors cannot be used again. they've had this sea water dumped on them. so what will happen to them? >> they're going to be retired. they're toast. it's over. that's six, you know, from between three, four, six -- six reactors, each a billion dollars each that are now dead. they're not going to be used again. i think the main focus -- there's a big economic writeoff. there's the health risk to the workers who have bravely fought
this situation. and then there's going to be a lot of psychological injuries. we never talk about the psychological cost. a lot of folks who have pre-existing mental health issues, they have suffered through this because they're worried about the radiation. that would be the limit there. those three things would be the limit if we believe stabilize things. and that would be the best possible outcome. the worst possible outcome is if things continue. you continue to have radiation spikes. the workers have limited access to all the reactors. so problems at the reactors worsen because the workers are unable to get to them. that's the -- that's the unpleasant scenario that i hope we can avoid. >> so you wonder can anything really be done to make sure that the ground, the air, the people, animals all in the general vicinity are not further contaminated? >> yeah. that's the whole gang right now. you hope that reactors one, two, and three, the containment vessels hold so even if there are problems inside the reactor that radioactivity is contained just as it was during three mile island for the most part. you hope that you can get water into the waste ponds -- >> for how long? >> well, you know, for reactors
one, two, and three, if the containment vessels hold, that's going to be forever. so that would be fine. the problem with the nuclear waste pools is that stuff is hot. those rods had recently been taken out of the reactors. so they're super hot. that management issue is going to have to be ongoing. and that's why they have to fix electricity. they can't rely on dropping water from helicopters. that helps, but fundamentally if they're going to address that, they have to get the cooling system going again. >> and then i wonder, you know, months from now, years from now, can these plants, they won't be used, they're a futile operation. but can they be dismantled? can anything be repurposed or recycled as it pertains to these plants without endangering other lives? >> i don't think they'll have any other purpose ever again. they may go in at some point as they -- i think they with chernobyl and, you know, cuts up the plant and cart it away and bury it, try to get in to analyze what exactly happened,
to retrace the steps and figure out what happened when and what -- what could have been different had they acted differently or, you know, to try to come one lessons learned that could be -- come up with lessons learned that could be important in the future. if we can stabilize things, and i hope we can, the next big job when this is all is going to be decontamination. measurements, trying to take off the top several inches of soil, checking the ground water, taking radiation readings in outlying areas and in the air. and then hoping to treat that by removal so that it can be reclaimed. so that the land around the plants, you know, in the greater community area, can be used again. and families can move back into their homes. that's going to be a tough road. people are going to continue to have fears about the area and fears about the people who live there. >> sure. fascinating stuff. always learn so much from you. jim walsh, appreciate it. >> thank you. meantime, critics are coming down hard on president obama for publicly announcing his college basketball tournament picks in
the middle of the crisis in japan. is that fair? your responses to our "talk back" on that in a moment away. but only if the dash it's attached to is equally beautiful. so we made sure it was. but what's the point of a beautiful dash if the seats aren't beautiful, too? so we made sure they were. but we couldn't stop there, so we kept going and going. and before we knew it, we had a 2011 jeep grand cherokee. it seems like your life with rheis split in two.s, there's the life you live... and the life you want to live. fortunately there's enbrel. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, fatigue, and stop joint damage. because enbrel suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, and other cancers,
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conservative critics are jumping on president barack obama's interest in college basketball during a time of crisis. they apparently do not think that this is a good idea for him to be going on espn with his basketball bracket choices. carol costello is back now with some of your responses. were they fired up? >> they were fired up. it's like the silly season. are critics fair about president obama making ncaa picks during a world crisis? this from robert. i think it's good that the president takes time out to relax. remember, all you conservatives, that bush took time out to relax and watch sports. this from darius, our president should not have to apologize for having the ability to do more than one thing at the same time. this from david, they have every right to be. a nuclear crisis in japan, middle east tour moil and economic problems here at home and if we were filling out brackets on our job we would be
fired. this from tammy lee, come on, carol. you disappoint me with this question. can't we have something more important to discuss here? i have ohm one thing to say, tammy. where were you at 6:00 this morning? keep the conversation going. facebook.com/carolcnn. >> you know tammy is going to write you back. >> i hope she does. tammy, write it on the facebook page. >> all right, carol, appreciate that. thanks so much. of course, we are still talking about japan and the radiation from that country blowing across the pacific. some americans are worried about that. we'll fill you in on why there is no need to start panic and go out and buy those potassium iodines. t, you feel it. ♪ do you believe in magic? ♪ ♪ it's magic ♪ [ male announcer ] it's a comfort that comes from the only caramel
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man: no way! man: hey rick check this out! anncr: geico. 15 minutes could save 15% or more on car insurance. loets of concern, of course, panic that those radiation plumes from japan will make its way to the west coast sometime by tomorrow. rob marciano is here to sort it all out. people are nervous about the notion. more than nervous. >> basically, something came out this morning about a u.n. computer model that took a plume and moved it, you know, the
atmosphere over to the west coast. well, this model ran several days ago, forecasting for it to arrive tomorrow. and it doesn't really say, you know, about the concentration of the plume. >> the dispassion of any of those particles. may well dissipate well before getting to the west coast. >> and it's more of a theoretical thing. you may remember last year we talked about the oil spill. you know, in theory, that may have been so, but it didn't happen in reality. you look at a satellite picture like this, we're not seeing any sort of plume or cloud or nuclear winter ash cloud that is being traversed. these are weather clouds. and this is a computer model, not the one that they used to track the theoretical plume of radiation, but one that we use every day in the weather center. everything from japan in some way shape or form kind of makes it way to the west coast. by the time any sort of radiation plume gets to that
point, it would be well disbursed, even across parts of the islands. and even if there was anything of major consequence that would be released, there's a difference between radiation and radioactive materials. radioactive material releases that radiation. you have to be close to that material. that radiation hits things floating in the atmosphere. those things that are now radioactive have to be transported via the atmosphere thousands of miles away. that's a lot to ask. even if they were to make it that far, it starts to disburse, just like dropping some ink or something in a river. it gets disbursed as it goes downstream. long and short of it, we're not terribly concerned about this barring some huge catastrophic event that will be much, much larger than what we've already endu endured. as far as this particular case, we shouldn't be concerned at all. >> that is comforting.
i know a lot of folks are at a stage of panic right now. rob is helping them calm down. >> the embrace that west coast take it easy lifestyle. >> thanks. top of the hour. we'll get you up to speed on japan's nuclear crisis in a moment. but first, a forgotten town. kamaishi is on japan's far eastern coast pap british reporter is the first to reach it six days after the tsunami. on the right of your screen, you will see the enormous sea wall that protected the town from the past tsunamis. well, not this time as correspondent alex thompson explains. >> family property and effects strewn around everywhere, demonstrating these people's faith in the vast ram parts of their sea walls was fatally misplaced. just look at it. there is no way you can get a vehicle anywhere near this
village. walking in is bad enough. there's no footprints in the snow. there are no footprints in the mud, for that matter. if the buildings or any vehicles here had been checked by search and rescue teams for bodies, there would be spray signs, aerosol signs on them to indicate that. there's nothing like that here at all. it's pretty clear this village has not been reached. and i have to tell you, there is a fairly strong smell of decay coming from the buildings behind me, particularly that garage just there. >> japanese defense forces finally reach kamishi today. japan deployed military helicopters and an ordinary fire truck today hoping to cool a crippled nuclear plant. well, it didn't work. helicopters made four passes dumping tons of water, but wind scattered much of it. radioactive actually increased. last hour i asked m.i.t. nuclear expert jim walsh what happens if
the nuclear plant is brought under control? >> over the next several days, the active reactor units one, two and three will begin to cool down. one hopes. and then maybe you can entomb them in concrete like you did at three mile island or otherwise sort of set them aside. >> the united states will evacuate the families of american diplomatic personnel in japan and that's about 600 people. and we learned a short time ago, the pentagon will allow families of military personnel to leave japan's northern most island. that is potentially in the realm of thousands of people. food and other supplies are finally itting the coast of japan. impassable roads, fuel shortages and a late winter storm has hampered the relief operations. the u.s. military says it has delivered 25 tons of food, water
and blankets so far. the first u.s. marines hit the ground in the disaster zone today, bringing supplies with them. the 11 member team will survey roads, bridges and airports to see what's needed to repair or replace them. amnesty international says bahrain police are using excessive force against anti-government protesters. youtube video appears to show a man trying to talk with security forces. as you just saw, they responded while firing at the man while he stood a few feet away. amnesty international says eight people have died in the latest crackout. libya state division is warning ben gazazy is facing attacks soon.
moammar gadhafi's forces are practical on the edge of what people are calling free libya. >> this regime is a bigger threat for all the world. we are defending the world peace. >> intense diplomacy is under way today. crews in japan are in a desperate race to prevent a nuclear crisis from turning into a catastrophe. they were dumping water on to a damaged reactor to kielt down. we'll get the latest from stan grant in tokyo. >> yes, we just got word from the tokyo electric company, it's 1:00 a.m. in the morning here and they're working on trying to
establish some external power to try to get the coolants working again in these reactors. what they're doing is they're trying to establish generators to try to pump more electricity into there. the whole problem started here because there was a disruption to the power supply and that shut the coolants down. then they tried to hook up external power and that didn't work, either. right now, if they can get this power going, with it might give them a big head start in trying to bring when whole situation under control. still a long way from there, though. today, they had to rely on dropping water from the sky and the ground. 70 tones of water in the end they poured into those reactors. the electric company also saying that it seemed to indicate some of the water did go in because of the steam rising from the reactors while they were doing that, but they can't be sure just how much water. and a lot of focus on a pool that contain tess spent fool rods. the concern here is that if the water evaporates from the fear,
those rods will be exposed. there's been a fire in that reactor. if they were to be damaged, that would put more potentially dangerous material into the atmosphere. >> and what about the radiation? there are questions about the japanese versus u.s. estimates. what is the latest? >> that's a great question. we've seen that all the while through this whole drama, this whole emergency. the labels seem so arbitrary. they peak and they drop. depending on where you actually take the measurement, they really vary widely. if you take it right next to the reactor, sometimes they can be alarmingly high, so high they've had to evacuate workers from the plant. then an hour later, if you measure from the perimeter of the plant out near the fence, they've dropped back again just as markedly. it's this sort of -- it's this fluctuation and the fact that the radiation levels have not been consistently high enough to cause injury or to cause illness to people. the government here believes, though, justified in keeping
this 12-mile no-go zone. the united states doesn't accept that. they're talking about a 50 mile warning zone. they also believe or suspect that the radiation levels may be much higher than we're hearing from the japanese right now. so there's still a lot of questions about the information and as for the people here, they're filling that gap in the information with their own fear and mistrust. >> stan grant in tokyo, thank you. now here is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day, conservative critics not too happy with president obama's interest in college basketball at a time when there is this world crisis in japan. carol costello is here with more of your talk back. >> they're talking back, aren't they? >> they are talking back to me. >> you challenged a few. >> i do.debate is my friend. president obama has his hands full with japan, libya and the middle east. what's wrong with taking a little break?
a lot, apparently. mr. obama appeared on espn to give his picks for the ncaa basketball championship. >> look, here is what happened. i picked north carolina. they lost. the next year they won for me. i think kansas is going to do the same thing. they always feel bad about losing when the president picks them. they're going to go all the way. >> well, they may be cheering in topeka, but in the conservative blogosphere, some are crying foul. anxious world looks to white house and wonders, who is obama picking for the final four? on television, shawn kennedy blasted president obama for the ncaa bracket and also for playing golf saying, quote, this is beyond troubling to me. democratic and republican lawmakers are not exactly chained to their desks, either. they're raising money to get elected. 150 fund-raising parties just this week and yes, some lawmaker ves booked luxury boxes for fund-raising at the ncaa
tournament. so talkback today. are critics fair about president obama making ncaa picks during world crises? write to me facebook.com/carolcnn and i will read your responses later on this hour. >> all right. thanks so much, carol. >> sure. meantime, sheer a look at what's ahead on the rundown. japan's dark days, atomic bomb survivors reflecting on the current nuclear crisis. and they're being hailed as heroes. a look at conditions facing the workers at japan's crippled nuclear plant. plus, a reality check before you go out and buy those iodine tablets. we'll talk with elizabeth cohen. and chad meyers explains why you should not be alarmed about radiation reaching the u.s. plus this -- >> an entire town stripped away to the elaborate foundations of thousands designed to survive
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city. many people are walking around, looking around for their loved ones who are missing. >> it's being called japan's most traumatic experience since world war ii. we talk about and compare the emotions from then and now. >> japan races to control the emergency from the fukushima plant. for the elderly, running from a disaster, this is their second nuclear crisis of their lifetime. >> translator: it's so scary, says the 75-year-old evacuee. for this generation, this all echos of 66 years ago when these men were children. they survived japan's first nuclear crisis when the u.s. dropped atomic bombs ending
world war ii. >> back to the -- >> it felt like being hit by a baseball bat in the head and that was only the beginning, says mikiso iwasa. he was only 16 years old living less than a mile from hiroshima's epicenter. among those killed, his mother, his sister, every single one of his relatives except for one aunt. >> are you a living example of the price of nuclear technology? i am, he says. er the first victims of the nuclear era. as he watches the crisis at fukushima and the impact of their generation hit by nuke clear emergencies, he says, i strongly question whether nuclear energy is helping peaceful life. do you believe the benefit of nuclear energy outweighs the cost? >> for me, no.
only 13 years old when the bomb fell on nagasaki, he was less than two miles from the he center, spared from the burn, but he says the long-term health impact of radiation. nuclear power, unless made 100% secure, should never be allowed in any form, they say. japan has seen darker days, rose from the ashes to become this, a world class economic and super power. the world war ii survivors believe japan will emerge from this nuclear crisis. they just wonder if it will be with new lessons learned. at age 81, iwasa still suffers from radiation related health problems, but they're nothing, he says, compared to the constant nightmares of his dying mother that haunt him. it's our hope to have us as the final victims, he says. he i hope it won't ever happen to your generation. cnn, tokyo.
gunshots ring out in the plaza. security forces in bahrain are being strongly criticized for their violent crackdown on protesters. ♪ hit the road, jack ♪ and don't you come back no more ♪ ♪ no more, no more, no more ♪ hit the road, jack ♪ and don't you come back no more ♪ [ male announcer ] want your weeds to hit the road? hit 'em with roundup extended control. one application kills weeds and puts down a barrier to stop new ones for up to four months. roundup extended control spray once. stop weeds for months.
intensifying their crackdown on protesters. amnesty international today accused bahrain's government of shooting shotguns, tear gas and rubber bullets on demonstrators. we're joined now by phone from abu dhabi in the united arab emirates. mohammed, what are your sources in bahrain telling you about what is indeed happening? >> fredericka, we're hearing from more and more people on the ground in bahrain that the crackdown is conditioning. a few days ago, you had the king of ba range declaring a state of emergency for three months. once that happened, the protesters there are predominantly shiite protesters. they were afraid there would be a violent crackdown. you had forces entering bahrain. yesterday when we were there, we saw violence happening at the round about where most of the
protests had been taking place over the past months. huge plumes of black smoke starting early in the morning, anti-riot police firing into crowdes and trying to disperse onlookers. security forces say people are making sure doctors couldn't get out and patients couldn't get in. the government denied all that. they said those were all lies and they insist that the protesters are, in fact, saab temperatures trying to bring down the government. people are really concerned that this could lead to asome point to civil war. >> mohammed, you are in abu dhabi now, but you were in bahrain. you were sxemd. is your feeling that there is a government crackdown on international media? >> we're hearing more and more reports from people on the ground, the journalists, both bahrainy and foreign are being asked not to report. there are even rumors that there
are some that have been detained. we're trying to get to the bottom of that and conform those reports. in my case, i was told i had to leave, that i was barred from reporting. that was the ministry of information. i was kicked out last night. we have a team that's still there. my colleague is reporting from the ground there right now, but there are concerns from activists, from rights groups there that if this crackdown continues, the bahraini government will not want reporting going on from the ground, they're going to limit access to the protest areas. and we're told today that there were security forces outside of the hospital so they could not get to and interview doctors. >> thank you so much. other stories now -- libyan state television reports an all of out assault could happen
soon. gadhafi's forces claim to have taken the final city on the way to. the u.n. could vote today on a force in libya. >> we are discussing seriously in leading efforts in the council around a range of action that we believe could be effective in protecting civilians. those include discussion of a no-fly zone. but the u.s. view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include but perhaps go beyond a no-fly zone. >> there is also growing concern about four "new york times" journalists missing in libya. the newspaper says it has received secondhand information that some of them were detained by libyan troops. but the government says it has no information on the journalists. later on this afternoon, the husband of one of those journalists will join ali velshi
live. ali is looking at where the four missing reporters are game changers in the u.s. and some americans are worried about radiation in the air. they're buying potassium iodine pills. should they? we'll check in with elizabeth cohen for a reality check. fooim time now to check in with the health desk. ladies, we're going to tap into your knowledge right now. we have a couple of questions from some of our viewers. the first one is from marva in georgia who writes, how can i find an independent financial planner who does not sell a product and how should i evaluate his or her qualificati qualifications? >> marva is very right. it's smart to look for someone who is independent. there are a lot of financial advisers out there who will push
products that they earn commissions on that aren't necessarily right for you. look for someone who is a fee only planner. you need a lot of money for that. you can find them through napfv. as far as credentials you want to look for in someone, look for someone who is a certified financial planner, or a csa, chattered financial analyst or even a cpa who has a certification called personal football specialist. those are ways you can find good advice. >> so next from reggie, he writes in, i foreclosed and filed chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2007. when am i eligible to purchase a home with a va loan? >> actually, he's eligible right now. you only have to wait for two years from the date of your bankruptcy discharge enough a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in order to acquire a va loan. but you have to also re-establish credit and show
that you're creditworthy. you also have to have income. a lot of banks on the private side and even the federal government who is ensuring certain loans through fha or va are requiring that you document your income. so you have to show that you have the income, the credit, and, of course, if they think you need any assets to show, as well, to prove that you can support the mortgage. >> so there's more that goes into it. but technically, you can start now. thank you so much for your information, ladies. as always, if you have a question you would like for us to ask these people that know so much, we're happy to help you out. send us an e-mail at any time.
what do you see yourself doing after you do retire? client comes in and they have a box. and inside that box is their financial life. people wake up and realize. "i better start doing something." we open up that box. we organize it. and we make decisions. we really are here to help you. they look back and think "wow. i never thought i could do this." but we've actually done it. [ male announcer ] visit ameriprise.com and put a confident retirement more within reach. [ male announcer ] visit ameriprise.com of some of the annoying symptoms menopause brings. go it's one a day menopause formula. the only complete multivitamin with soy isoflavones to help address hot flashes and mild mood changes. one a day menopause formula.
this just in, we're learning from the white house that president barack obama will have a statement as it pertains to japan at about 3:30 eastern time. we'll carry that for you, of course. meantime, straight ahead on the rundown, should you be concerned about radiation from the crippled japanese nuclear plant? we'll get a reality check. and devastation everywhere in a jan niece town. now there's snow and cold adding to the misery. and japan's national heroes. we'll take a closer look at the nook here plant workers putting
their lives on the line. and a dramatic survival story. an 83-year-old woman escaped from the tsunami on her bicycle. the reports now that radiation plumes from japan will reach the u.s. west coast tomorrow have alarmed many americans. chad meyers is with us now. chad, experts are telling us that there is no cause for alarm or panic, right? >> well, yeah, that's right. and do you want to know why? >> tell us why. >> because all of the graphics and all the animations you've been seeing in other places, online that show this plume of radiation reaching the west coast is part of a computer model that was run this we'll for a plume of radiation that escaped from japan on saturday. the only problem is, there wasn't a plume. so all of this talk about this plume is coming to the united
states is debunked because there is no mroout plume. the model was run to say if this would have happened, where would it go? that gives us a reality check if it still does happen, that maybe there's something to worry about. but here is the would speak model. this does not indicate where the radiation will go 100%. radiation will be in the bottom levels, the middle he feels of the atmospheratmosphere. it can turn into radioactive rain. here is japan, that arrow. here is california, that air re. back up, our wind speed animation to basically right now. if a parcel comes off, it's going to go down, it's going to go up, it's going to go around, it's going to follow these lines, it's going to go over russia and it's probably going to go up and probably over the western parts of alaska. that's if that piece of parcel,
that balloon that doesn't have any helium in it stays along the ground and blows along. but by the time it gets there five days later, most of the radiation in those isotopes is gone, anyway, or mixed up into the atmosphere and not where we hit. so isotopes in here are only radioactive for like eight seconds. it's going to take pfeifer days to america. certainly they won't be radioactive when they get here. don't be too concerned. >> much relieves. chad myers, thanks so much. however, it still means that there are a lot of fierce over radiation contamination in general and that's why a lot of pharmacies and vitamin shops across the u.s. are now flooded with people looking for potassium iodine. but there's a growing demand for nuclear decontamination kits. but before you reach into your wallet, elizabeth cohen is here
to punctuate the same message you just heard from chad, that it may be overzealous to do that. >> it is definitely a lot overzealous. >> but in the meantime, for those who have rushed to the store, bought all this material, etcetera, what are they going to do with this material now? >> i don't know what they're going to do with it. i certainly hope they're not taking the potassium eyeo dooil dine because there's no reason to and you might get some bad side effects. >> now, if there is no radiation, you do take it and then what happens? >> hopefully nothing. but there can b be side effects. some people are allergic to they and they don't know it. if you are allergic do it, you can get bad gastrointestinal issues. we're hearing from everyone across the board saying the same thing, there is no reason to worry. and i'm going to tell you the one sentence that explains why
there's no reason to worry. and it's something i learned in public health school. the professor said the solution to pollution is dilution. look at that map, fred. that's more than 5,000 miles. >> dilution. >> this is the version for ittates compared to what chad did. so this is more than 5,000 miles. god forbid if there were radiation floating into the ocean, it wouldn't be anything to worry about by the time it got to the west coast. so save your money. i know you can buy them online. we have some. i bought them for demo purposes. but you don't need to be taking. shouldn't be taking it. it is not the right thing to do right now. those who are in japan, closest to the threat of the potential danger, they are taking potassium iodine to protect their thyroid? >> yeah. and it can absorb some of that
radiation coming out at them. the purpose of the pills is it fills up the grand. it's a really elegant way to prevent the problem. so if you're inside that plant our o you are no reason them paying it. >> and people on the west coast are buying these contamination kits. what is that involved? >> these are usually available online. they often contain potassium iodine. they sometimes will contain -- we've seen tenths being sold, meters for radioactive activity. they contain wipes that you can allegedly use to get radiation that might fall on you. >> again, no need to put this into use right now if you're stateside. >> correct.
and i would save the money. if you're worried about bad stuff falling on you in any situation, you would take your clothes off, get rid of them, take a shower with soap and water. you don't need the wipes. >> all right. elizabeth cohen, thanks so much. appreciate it. >> itn's alice thompson will give us an up-close look at one japanese town devastated by the quake and tsunami. an entire town stripped away to the elaborate foundations of houses designed to with stand earthquakes, yes, but a tsunami of this scale, certainly not. ♪ ♪ ♪
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the rubble in much of japan's quake and tsunami zone is covered now in a thin blanket of snow. itn's alex thompson gives us a look at a devastated town. >> army aid convoys heading east over the central mountains into the quake zone this morning. several japanese have asked me, what have we done to deserve a historically powerful earthquake, this vast tsunami damage and now the blizzards? with officials here now saying more than 4,000 people are confirmed dead, we've come to the east coast to see how far search and rescue for bodies has gone in this vast area of damage.
our driver, shin, just can't believe what he's seeing. he was last here on holiday several years ago. >> translator: there's an army reached up there. there's only five homes up there. all the rest are destroyed. >> at the coast, we meet hiromi and his plea to that of the wider world, that of so many here, united states freezing. we need blankets, but much more. >> translator: to be frank, i need a bath and stuff like that, but i know it's too much to ask. it's so cold here. we need kerosene and we need petrol. >> we have seen towns wrecked, factories pulverized, but never roads, bridges and the vast anti-tsunami events here smashed
like they were today. and hiromi had been good enough to explain to us exactly what happened here. six days ago. it was about half an hour after the last of the earth tremors finished. people noticed that this entire bay began simply emptying of water. the tide went out, way beyond the red hull can of the red ship you can see there, out beyond the lighthouse which you can just see sticking up in the snow. the entire bay was emptied of water and it stayed that way for some moment. then, people living here describe an enormous rushing, roaring sound. it was a tsunami approaching at 15, 20 miles per hour pushing everything before it. right up, right through this bay. the people living in the village in the corner there, many of them stayed put. they had had problems with tsunamis before. they had come and gone, no issue. on this occasion, things were very different.
we decided to try and get there. clearly, no vehicles are going anywhere near and look at the size of these supposed tsunami defenses, high enough, thick enough, long enough, so everybody thought. an entire town stripped away to the elaborate foundations of thousands designed to with stand earthquakes, yes, but a tsunami of this scale, certainly not. we finally reach the part of the town where local people had said many stayed, believing they would be safe. family property and effects strewn around everywhere, demonstrating these people's faith in the vast ram parts of their sea walls was fatally
misplaced. just look at it. there is no way you could get a vehicle anywhere near this individuals. walking in is bad enough. there are no footprints in the snow. there are no footprints in the mud for that matter. if the buildings of any vehicles here had been checked for bodies, there would be aerosol sprayed here. it's pretty clear this village has not been reached. and i have to tell you, there is a fairly strong smell of decay coming from the buildings behind me, particularly that garage just there. one small example in one small village of the enormous job here in japan, simply to locate the bodies that alone begin clearing up this mess. nearby on the sea wall, the broken sea wall, the warning notice for the tsunamis survives.
but how many of the people here did so? that will take some time to become clear. alex thompson, channel 4 news, kamaishi. they know it could cost them their lives, but the heroes, woulding to avert a nuclear meltdown in japan press on. we'll look at the odds they're facing. ♪ what do you see yourself doing after you do retire? client comes in and they have a box. and inside that box is their financial life. people wake up and realize.
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they are being hailed as heroes. cnn's carla zeus is following the dangers they're facing, the mythology and what is taking place as a result of the sacrifices that they're making. >> and there are two reasons why they're being hailed as heroes. you're looking at people who have experience and a great dole of courage. these people who are working at japan's nuclear reactors trying to contain a meltdown are engineers. they're foekd who have been aren't reactors and they're educated. it is for that reason, the fact that they understand this could have health effects down the road or sooner that i think they're being hailed as heroes. >> and what is between them and the radiation?
>> there are serve different things they have in terms of clothing and equipment. it's surprisingly not very effective. these folks have full body hazardous material suits. you might have seen pictures of those in the news before that protect them. oxygen tanks and a very dangerous environment. they have radiation detectors so at least you understand the levels of rayation they're facing. sometimes they're crawling through the dark with nothing to light their way but flashlights and the occasional flare-up of hydrogen. so these folks are heavily equipped, but that equipment does very, very little. the radiation is in the air and they're covered in it. so it's still seeping into their bodies at high levels. so i wonder, did they volunteer for this kind of duty in, you know, desire situations like this or are they, in large part, assigned to do this? >> japan is telling us these folks are volunteers. there's one sorry about a
59-year-old worker who is months away from retirement who decided to go in and do what he did in terms of this. >> we see roughly 3 milisieverts a year of radiation. radiation sickness becomes possible the a around 1,000 milliesieverts at one time. we know yesterday the radiation levels at japan's plant spiked around 400 millisieverts. >> thank so much for brepging the information on all these survivors who will elect many
others. >> are critics being unfair about president obama making ncaa basketball picks during a world crisis? jeff writes this, regardsless of who the sitting president is, detractors will have a problem with the president taking time out for the lighter side of life. more responses, just moments away. try colace capsules for effective comfortable relief from occasional constipation. save $3 right now. go to getconstipationrelief.com. of some of the annoying symptoms menopause brings. go it's one a day menopause formula. the only complete multivitamin with soy isoflavones to help address hot flashes and mild mood changes. one a day menopause formula. matter which position i am in i wake up feeling good. it fits you so perfectly... it fits you. you wake up and you're revived and rejuvenated. it's just like wow!
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it's time to go "cross country" now for stories cnn affiliates are covering. nashville, a surveillance camera captures this wild shoot-out at a downtown gas station. the owner says it's the third time in thee years he's been robbed at gun point. after a struggle, he was able to pull his own gun and fire back. amazingly, no one was hurt. but the people who tried to rob the store owner got away. in big sur, california, at least 30 feet of highway, one just slid right into the ocean there. that's about a 300 foot drop. can you believe that right there? they're not sure why it happened. erosion may be to blame. and lansing, michigan, thousands of protesters are
upset about the governor's proposal to give emergency managers the power to void union contracts. a little bit more about conservative critics now jumping on barack obama's interest. carol costello is back here with some of your responses because you've been quite chatty about it all. >> yes, you have been quite chatty. and i've enjoyed reading some of your comments. our critics talk about president obama making ncaa picks during world crises. how many of them spend 24/7 to focus on stupid stuff to gripe about? oh, i guess they all do in order to focus on this. give me a break. this from christine, i like president obama. i voted for him, in fact. however, i saw him on espn and it did make me rather uncomfortable. granted, he began the broadcast
with a plea to help usaid, but it did seem to be poor timing. whitney, honestly, if the president didn't take time to relax and actually clear his mind, he's probably go crazy and make some really bad decisions. stop making it seem like he's terrible. this from bill, i hope he wins these bracket bool. that would send the tea party over the edge. >> the president will be making comments about japan later on today, 3:30 eastern time. cnn will be covering that live. thanks, carol. meantime, survivors are opening up about how they were able to escape with their lives as that tsunami approached. >> translator: after the tsunami warning, i got on my bicycle by myself and rode away. i can't get rid of these weeds, or these nasal allergies.
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adding new calorie labels to every single can, bottle and pack they produce. so you can make the choice that's right for you. ♪ it is unbelievable no matter how many times you look at this. this incredible video was shot from inside sendai airport. that tsunami races through, washing away dozens of cars that you see there. now take a look at the damage left behind. trees are up rooted and debris is spread everywhere, as you can see. cars look like they've been
picked up and simply tossed aside. so the life of every survivor has been forever changed by the triple disaster of tsunami, earthquake and now nuclear issues. gary tuchman has the story of one elderly woman's race against the waves. >> reporter: suna komura is living among friends in a shelter. but on the day of the earthquake and tsunami, she was at the home where she lived by herself. >> i was scared. >> reporter: but she had her whits about her. she heard the siren signaling a tsunami was on the way. what did this 83-year-old woman do? >> translator: after the tsunami warning, i got on my bicycle, by myself, and rode away. >> reporter: that's right. tsuna kimura escaped the tsunami
on her bike. when she saw the waters devo devouring her city, she couldn't believe it. >> translator: i thought japan would disappear. i thought japan would disappear under water. >> like so many people on the japanese pacific coast, tsuna's house is now flooded. >> translator: it's totally messed. i went to see it. i couldn't even enter the house. it's totally messed. >> reporter: everyone in the shelter is, of course, consumed by the frightening nuclear reactor drama. the situation has special significance for the older people here who remember the nuclear attacks. >> translator: this reminds me of it, very much so. >> tsuna has two children, but doesn't want to be a burden to them. she wants to